Since we stayed in the Intercontinental City stars hotel in Nasir city, we had to travel through a lot of the city to get to different parts of Cairo. One thing that always stood out was the Saladin Citadel of Cairo. Almost every taxi driver pointed it out and said that it is a must see. So, it should come as no surprise that we made our way to the Saladin Citadel on one weekend. I have to say that the citadel is quite impressive and there are numerous structures within that are worthwhile visiting. It also has a bird’s eye view of the city which is really cool. It has also been declared a UNESCO heritage site.
LOCATION AND ENTRANCE FEES OF THE SALADIN CITADEL
The Saladin Citadel is perched on top of the only hill range in Cairo known as Mokattam. You can’t pass by without noticing the citadel glinting in the sunlight. The majestic structure makes a striking contrast to the view around it. We paid EGP 100 per person as the entrance fee to the Saladin Citadel. It covers the entrance fees to all the structures inside the citadel.
MOSQUE OF MOHAMMED ALI
Inside the Mosque of Mohammad Ali in the Saladin Citadel of Cairo.
The Mosque of Mahammed Ali is probably the first thing that you notice in the Saladin Citadel. In fact, the white domes of this mosque are what attracts attention even from the outside. The square shaped mosque will probably be your fist stop as you wander through the citadel. While the arch ways around the Mosque of Mohammed Ali lead you to believe that there are many entrances, you will find that the right way to enter the mosque is via the square / court where the fountain of ablutions is. This is because the fountain is used by the Muslims to wash before praying. The other doors around the Mosque of Mohammed Ali are used as exits.
Dress code: Remember to respect the cultures and religions of the places you visit. One is expected to dress modestly with their shoulders and legs covered. While no one tells you to cover your head with a scarf. It is expected but not enforced. Footwear should be left at the designated spot.
The inside of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali is lit by the light coming in from the doors and a series of yellow lights hanging from the ceiling. The art work all around is dazzling and the peace and quiet makes you just want to sit and take it in.
MOSQUE OF AN-NASIR MOHAMMED
A glimpse inside the Mosque of An-Nasir Mohammed.
We wandered around the Citadel and our next stop was at a second mosque that we hadn’t known was part of the complex before. This lesser visited mosque is the Mosque of An-Nasir Mohammed. It does lack the grandeur of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali but I thought that it was pretty. Away from the crowds, this mosque is quiet, and its architecture is a different.
POLICE MUSEUM TERRACE
I’m not a fan of police museums so I’m not going to go into much detail here. The Police museum terrace can be accessed by using the ticket that you purchased for the Saladin Citadel. It is a small museum and has a lot of armour and weapons that were used over the years in Egypt.
NATIONAL MILITARY MUSEUM
We arrived at the northern enclosure which contains the National military museum. Unfortunately, at the time we visited, the museum was closed, and access was unavailable to the general public.
THE PRISON CELLS
One of the last things that we saw were the prison cells were people were jailed. A few of the cells are on display with models of prisoners lying within.
While the Mosque of Mohammed Ali is the major attraction in the Citadel of Saladin, take the time to walk around and explore the area. It is intriguing, and it is almost like walking back in time. Oh… A quick tip! Try to avoid walking around when the sun is at full mast because it gets really hot!